News blog for Seattle's Maple Leaf neighborhood

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Neighbor reports misbehaving in Thornton Creek

March 31st, 2014 by Mike

We get reports from time to time of activities in Thornton Creek where it passes through Maple Leaf.

Most often they are about people cutting trees, or loitering.

Now we have one about fire starting.

Stephanie emails this morning:

I live on Eighth Avenue Northeast & Northeast 104th Street and there is a creek behind my house. I like to walk my dog through the trails on a regular basis. Last Wednesday I started walking him down when I saw a kid (potentially teenager) attempting to start a fire. As soon as he saw me he stomped on it and ran off. Just wanted to let people know who live around there to keep an eye out for kids & teens in the creek area that might be up to no good.

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“Scary solicitor” reported in Maple Leaf

March 30th, 2014 by Mike

Katie writes: “I wanted to let the neighborhood know that I had a really scary solicitor today (Saturday).  She lives at Northeast 92nd Street and Eighth Avenue Northeast.

I live in Maple Leaf and around 6:30 p.m. a tall black man in a Seahawks hat, blue coat and khaki’s knocked on my door. I didn’t answer.

I cracked my blinds and politely Pagessaid ” I’m not interested.” He went on to say that he wasn’t selling anything, more that I needed to “vote” for him for something.

I said that I was busy, and to please leave. He said NO and was really aggressive. I said that I was going to call the police if he didn’t leave. He screamed in my window ” I don’t give a F**K!”.

I called 911, who said they would go and find him.

Honestly, it was terrifying.

Please keep an eye out for him.

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Weather service gets it right – thunder and lightning here

March 29th, 2014 by Mike

Updates:

From KIRO:

A Green Lake church was damaged Saturday afternoon after it was struck by lightning, said Seattle Fire Department officials.  The incident happened at the Bethany Community Church in the 1100 block of North 80th Street before 5 p.m.

When firefighters arrived, they found a 2-foot by 4-foot hole above the altar.  Fire officials said there was no fire but the electricity was knocked out.

Lightning strikes kill power in Ravenna, 25th Avenue Northeast and Northeast 75th, also at Green Lake Drive North and Northeast 80th Street.

Short-term forecast issued within the hour:

SHORT TERM FORECAST

NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE SEATTLE WA

326 PM PDT SAT MAR 29 2014

.NOW…

A LINE OF SHOWERS AND ISOLATED THUNDERSTORMS WILL TRACK NORTHEAST THROUGH BREMERTON AND SEATTLE THROUGH 430 PM. THESE SHOWERS MAY PRODUCE BRIEF HEAVY DOWNPOURS…CLOUD TO GROUND LIGHTNING STRIKES AND SMALL HAIL.

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Maple Leaf’s famous cherry tree near peak bloom

March 29th, 2014 by Mike

Earlier this morning the neighbors who own Maple Leaf’s heritage cherry tree posted new photos.

You can see them at the tree’s own Facebook page.

The tree, believed to be between 80 and 100 years old, is on the corner of Northeast 90th Street and 12th Avenue Northeast.

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Help find Kindle, the missing black e-reader

March 28th, 2014 by Mike

Sarah emails this morning:

Our carpool buddy parked his large red truck in front of our house on 3/27, near the corner of Northeast  89th Street and 15th Avenue Northeast. In a big “oops” on his part, he accidentally left his Kindle on the bumper of the truck where he’d been reading and waiting for my husband.

We are hoping that a neighborhood Good Samaritan may have seen it and retrieved it for safe keeping. If so, could you please contact Chad at 206-200-7283.

(We haven’t an update on Ralph, incidentally.)

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Help find Ralph, the missing black Lab

March 26th, 2014 by Mike

Dionnie emails this morning:

Ralph, a black Labrador/chow walked out of our house this morning (March 26) – back gate opened due to strong wind last night. If found, please call Dionnie: 206-335-3569. Thanks.

Ralph lives at 14th Avenue Northeast and Northeast 75 Street.

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First Avenue remains one-way for two more months

March 25th, 2014 by Mike

Sound Transit confirmed today that – as one of our readers had suspected – First Avenue Northeast will remain one-way at the Maple Leaf Portal for two more months.

First Avenue NE between NE 92nd Street and just south of NE 100th Street will remain open southbound only through May. Current traffic and Metro bus service detours will remain in place through this extension.

The northbound closure allows crews to safely complete excavation and dirt hauling of the Maple Leaf Portal site. Keeping the northbound lane closed helps keep trucks from tracking out dirt which can wash into nearby Thornton Creek. Additionally, the northbound closure maintains a consistent traffic pattern rather than having continually shifting conditions. Unfamiliar changes in traffic can create a safety hazard.

Crews now plan to open the northbound lane once excavation is complete in May.

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Clouds, rain – maybe hail and lightning – move in

March 25th, 2014 by Mike

The mountain Monday evening as clouds closed in.

Updates

3:40 p.m. Heavy rain.

3:45 p.m. Sun.

4 p.m. Rainbow!

More wet weather has arrived – bad news for Oso and those involved  in the slide there.

For us: “The rain comes our way as a cold front rolls in, dropping our temperatures about 10 degrees from yesterday. Showers will be heavy at times this afternoon as highs reach the mid to upper 50s,” KOMO reports.

As the week progresses, hail and thunderstorms are possible. Friday brings a lot more rain.

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PCC’s new store at Green Lake to open June 4

March 24th, 2014 by Mike

Just before noon we heard from PCC that its long-anticipated new Green Lake store – which will be the closest PCC to Maple Leaf – will open June 4.

It will be just down Fifth Avenue Northeast at the location of the old Vitamilk Dairy, which closed a decade ago after 60 years at Green Lake.

It’s a bit behind schedule. The store was originally expected to open in 2013.

The new PCC will be part of the Green Lake Village mixed-use development between Northeast 72nd and 71st streets along Woodlawn and Fifth avenues northeast.

The existing Greenlake PCC, on Aurora Avenue North, will remain.

Long-time residents will remember when the PCC at Greenlake was a block west of the south end of the lake, just off Northeast 65th Street.

.

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Debate begins over transit tax vote – plus: The bus passed me by!

March 20th, 2014 by Mike

Two weeks before ballots are mailed in the April vote on hiking  taxes to prevent a 17 percent cut in bus service, our news partner The Seattle Times has two transit stories today.

The first is on a debate in Bellevue Wednesday over the proposal for an additional $60 car-tab fee and a tenth-of-a-cent sales-tax increase for roads and buses.

It did not go particularly well for pro-transit advocates, the Times notes:

An early face-to-face over King County’s proposed car-tab-and-sales-tax measure to fund transit and roads took place in front of one of the few organizations opposing the measure, the pro-highway Eastside Transportation Association (ETA)….

…audience members complained about how Metro King County Transit is managed, voiced concerns about seeing some virtually empty buses on some routes and suggested having bus passengers themselves pick up a larger share of the service’s costs.

Metro historically has had difficulty providing the Eastside   – in the past not bus friendly – with enough service to justify the transit  tax dollars the region contributed. One result was buses operated with few riders.

The other, more lively, story is an attempt by the Times to crowd-source the answer to this question: “Full Metro bus pass you by?

“Crowded buses so full they sometimes have to pass by would-be riders. That’s been one manifestation of King County Metro Transit ridership growing back to pre-recession levels.

“Has a full bus passed you by at a bus stop? Tell us about it, we’re mapping pass-ups.”

Ballots will be mailed April 2 for the April 22 election.

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Heavy hail hits Maple Leaf

March 19th, 2014 by Mike

At 2:50 p.m. a hailstorm swept through Maple Leaf.

At 2:53 it stopped.

KIRO reports: “Hail now being reported over north King County.. Even north Seattle. Conv zone is roaring pretty good right now.”

Forecast says thunderstorms are possible this afternoon and evening.

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Crow’s eye view of the Maple Leaf Portal dig

March 14th, 2014 by Mike

A reader sent us this link to a construction cam atop the Maple Leaf Portal work site.

(Sometimes we can get it to work. Sometimes we can’t. Go figure.)

He also says First Avenue  Northeast at the site, which is currently one-way southbound, may not reopen in both directions as scheduled at the end of this month.

“The contractor just requested that they keep it one lane through May. (Sound Transit) hasn’t decided yet if they’re going to grant that yet, and part of that decision will be up to SDOT.”

A different reader, who clearly knows a lot more about the light rail project than we do, emailed the below last week.

Glossary (by editor):

TBM =  Tunnel Boring Machine (we think).

ST = Sound Transit.

Brenda = TBM named after a project manager’s wife, according to comments on an earlier post. Brenda is not Bertha, the whopping big TBM stuck on its way under downtown.

North Link = light rail that will run from Husky Stadium to Roosevelt Station to Northgate. It should reach Northgate in 2021.

Togo and Balto: From the same comments: “The two TBMs that are digging from UW to Capitol Hill were named Togo and Balto after famous Huskies – the four-legged kind.”

The fact sheet regarding tunneling in the North Link document archive notes that one TBM will be launched from Maple Leaf toward Roosevelt, where it will be trucked back to Maple Leaf for re-launch. Two TBMs will be launched from Roosevelt toward UW.

Brenda’s remnants are definitely at Maple Leaf, ST noted that in an earlier press release. Probably fitted with a new shield assembly and cutter head. I believe the original shield was left in place in the tunnel near the Paramount. I’m guessing Togo and Balto will likely be reused on the Roosevelt to UW segment, as that would be a cost effective move for the contractor and probably figured into their bid. Maybe rename them Brendaborg, Togoborg and Baltoborg. :)

Looking forward to this group trying to beat the ULINK bar for cost and schedule, but we shall see, hopefully no immovable objects stand in their way.

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“Plan B” vote to hike transit taxes arrives next month

March 14th, 2014 by Mike

The state Legislature gave up and went home Thursday night, having punted on most issues facing it.

Including transportation.

From our news partner The Seattle Times:

Last May’s Interstate 5 bridge collapse over the Skagit River was not enough to persuade the parties to come together to pass a long-negotiated, multibillion dollar transportation package.

Crosscut.com has a piece on the transportation flame-out here.

What’s this mean for us?

Next month we’ll be asked to substantially raise our local transit taxes. Or suffer serious cuts to Metro transit service next year, including the elimination of several routes that serve Maple Leaf.

Affected would be routes 41, 77, 73, 68, 306 … it goes on. The full list is here. Our report from December is here.

On the day all nine members of the King County Council voted to put the taxes on the April 22nd ballot, the Times reported:

King County voters will decide in April on a $60 car-tab fee and a tenth-of-a-cent sales-tax increase for roads and buses.

On Monday, the Metropolitan King County Council also passed a 25-cent fare increase for bus riders starting in 2015. Peak one-zone fares are $2.50 now, and peak-two-zone fares are $3.

The increases all make up a funding package the county pulled together to save King County Metro Transit from threatened service cuts of as much as 17 percent. The county had hoped the Legislature would act to save the bus system, but it didn’t.

That last-ditch plan was called “Plan B” from its onset. Plan A was the hope the Legislature, as it dealt with transportation, would give the county authority to use other varieties of taxes that aren’t as regressive as Plan B. One proposal involved a county-only, car-tab tax based on a vehicle’s value.

At the end of February, Melanie, a neighbor and Maple Leaf bus commuter, wrote us to encourage support for the April measure, pointing out cuts would affect many University of Washington employees and students, “many of whom live in Maple Leaf.

“I think not many folks are aware this is coming up so soon” as the April 22 ballot, she wrote.

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Detectives seeking Cinnabon burglar at Northgate

March 10th, 2014 by Mike

Number 25 did it.

That might be the clearest thing about the surveillance photos above.

Here’s the rest of the story, as posted this afternoon by Seattle Police:

Seattle police are hoping someone will roll over on a burglar who snuck into the Northgate Mall early last Thursday and made a beeline for the Cinnabon.

Around 6:45 a.m. on March 6th, the suspect crept through an unlocked service entrance and walked directly to the Cinnabon at the south end of the mall.

The suspect began crawling around inside the store—which had not opened for the day—where he stole three small bottles of milk and crawled into an office. The suspect spent the next eight minutes inside the office, where he stole several thousand dollars in cash. The suspect then limped out of the store and down a hallway, and quickly limped off down First Avenue Northeast.

Detectives don’t know much about the suspect other than the fact that he has a medium build, was wearing a red mask or bandanna, and has a significant limp on his left leg.

If you recognize this suspect or know anything about this case, please call (206) 625-5011.

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Kona Kitchen’s funny YouTube video

March 10th, 2014 by Mike

We just came across this video over the weekend, featuring Kona Kitchen owner and actor Yuji Okumoto. Enjoy!

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